DANVILLE – More than 200 jobs sit vacant at the Danville Veterans Affairs facility, mirroring a major staffing shortage at veterans facilities across the nation.
Despite recent recruitment efforts at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System in Danville, vacancy numbers have remained the same for years.
Tom Hossfeld, the head of human relations, says the cause of the shortage is simple: promotion is common at the department, and many employees work their way up the ladder and leave vacancies behind.
“We have people constantly getting promoted because they’re coming in, taking care of our veterans, proving themselves and wanting to grow,” he says.
He also says there are often more jobs than people.
Nationally, 96 percent of veterans affairs facilities had at least one severe staffing shortage since December of 2018, according to a 2019 report from the inspector general in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Additionally, the report found that 39 percent of facilities had severe shortages in at least 20 occupations.
A lack of qualified applicants and non-competitive salaries are the two driving forces for the shortage, the report concluded.
Despite the staffing shortage in Danville, Public Affairs Officer Melissa Spady says they’re still focused on their top priority: taking care of veterans.
“This is certainly a team effort,” Spady said. “At the end of the day, we all come together to ensure that the care is delivered to the veteran.”
Spady said active recruitment is underway, and that the Danville V.A. will be holding a virtual job fair this Friday.